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Manchester church kicks off first part of 100-year celebration
The lone church in Manchester is celebrating 100 years in the community with a four-part celebration.
On Sunday, the Manchester Community Church conducted the first portion of the celebrating, remembering the church’s first 50 years in existence. The church was started in 1914 when the congregation adopted a constitution.
About 200 people attended an afternoon potluck dinner and pie contest. A display with old photographs of founding members, past congregations and the old church building was set up in the church’s fellowship hall.
“This was to celebrate the first 50 years of the church,” Pastor David Eddy said.
He said the next three celebrations, planned in March, June and September will honor three long-time pastors during the past 50 years.
The second celebration, set for March 23, will honor Roland Fredericks. He pastored the church from 1958-79 before he died of cancer.
“He was the pastor behind getting the new church building, a school and he was a real outreach and evangelism-type guy. The church thrived under his ministry. That’s the pastor many of the old-timers remember.”
The third celebration on June 8 will honor the pastorage of Don Jackson, who served from 1980-99. The final celebration, slated for Sept. 21, will honor the current pastor.
“We will be looking into the future since I am still here as pastor,” said Eddy, who grew up in the church under Jackson.
Eddy, 42, who was raised in Manchester, started as an assistant pastor in 1991, then became associate pastor in 1993 before being named senior pastor in 1999.
After graduating South Kitsap High School, he attended the University of Washington to become a doctor.
“This is my hometown and I grew up in the church,” said Eddy.
Eddy said while attending seminary, he worked at the church under Jackson.
The church is a member of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America International
Recalling the past
Les and Liz Hough, who have been members of the church for 52 years, said when they started coming to Manchester Community Church, they would have service in the old church building and where the current church now stands was a wooded area.
“My husband helped build this building,” Liz Hough said.
Les Hough, 82, said the church teaching is important to him.
“It is an important issue to me,” he said.
Les Hough recalled in the early 1950s, the church had a split and most of the people left.
“When Pastor Roland Fredericks came here there was very many people and they couldn’t promise him a salary,” Les Hough said. “They told him, ‘If you want to be our pastor, you can.’ ”
He said the church took up an offering on Sunday mornings to pay him.
Liz Hough, 80, said the church has been a “support team” to her family.
“The church people have always been here for us,” said Liz Hough, who is a cancer survivor.
The couple said the new building — which was built in 1979 — has been one of the major changes since they became members. Les Hough said they built rooms for Sunday School classes before the sanctuary.
“We were putting about 100 people in that little old church building before we built out new church,” Les Hough said.
Sandy Olson, 68, said as a teenager he remembers reading articles from Fredricks.
“The church has been our whole family’s social center,” Olson said. “The kids have been raised here and my daughter is married to the pastor.”
Olson’s youngest son recently returned home after 10 years as a missionary.
“For the community of believers, it has been a center,” Olson said. “We got a lot of people that started out here as teenagers, who now have their children and grandchildren here. It has been a family church.”
John Beck, 77, came to the church in 1967.
“We started a furniture store and Pastor Roland Fredericks prayed at our grand opening,” Beck recalled. “I knew him a year prior to that and we became best friends.”
The first 50 years
In 1907, Clara Denniston and others started a Sunday School that met in a log cabin at the summit of Manchester Hill. Two years later, they moved to the Manchester School and then into a new school building in 1912 until the church was built in 1921.
Several families met to discuss forming a church in 1910. They found speakers for services whenever they could and finally talked to a New Jersey Baptist minister — William T. Sherman Lumbar — who proposed uniting believers in Waterman, Long Lake and Manchester. At first, Lumbar would preach a morning service in Manchester and an afternoon service in Waterman, then at night at Long Lake.
The first church was named the First Community Church of Three Points.
In 1917, the congregation purchased land where the current church rests. The church officially was called Manchester Community Church in 1920.
The first church was built by S.A. Denniston, Will Dennister, Charles Wood and others.
In 1922, Lumbar moved to California and the pulpit was filled by guest speakers from neighboring churches.
Arthur Heath preached every Sunday morning service beginning in 1923 and there were no evening services since he had to go back home across the Puget Sound. After Heath left, the church went through several pastors including Dr. Abraham Vereide, Stanley Norwick, Russell Warren, Hilary Marckx and Benjamin Hutchinson.
In 1944, the church bought a parsonage.
Rosemary Hill became the church’s first missionary in 1952. She worked as a missionary in China.